Tuesday, July 17, 2018


All the latest journalism from the Rhodes TV3 class

Citizen journalist Cathy Gush tells her story

Posted by Kyle On May - 16 - 2010

By Lisa Bluett, Sembene Hamilton & Ntombi Mlangeni

Working with citizen journalist Cathy Gush was an enlightening experience. As a third year journalism student one has a tendency to take for granted just how much one has actually learned in three years, and communicating these abilities and skills to someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to study journalism can be a harrowing and yet very rewarding experience.

We were lucky in that we met Cathy early on in the term, and from square one it was quite apparent that we had found ourselves a hard working citizen journalist. From day one she was highly enthusiastic about learning the skills required to produce multimedia mobile journalism. Before our initial meeting with Cathy, the group prepared a brief how-to-guide in terms of shooting visuals with one’s mobile phone. This was given to Cathy and she was given her first assignment, which was to produce a 15 second clip containing a striking visual which she was also then required to write a blurb for. This first story was completed by our citizen journalist without much hassle.

The second story proved to be a bit more of a challenge. The actual shooting of the footage was relatively easy but Cathy soon discovered the wonderful post-production process that is called editing. Editing is the biggest pain in a journalist’s proverbial you know what. It is a time consuming process, and when one is working with limited footage of a relatively poor quality (as is the case with most footage shot on mobile phones), finding usable and relevant bits of footage to use can become a nightmare. Add into these frustrations, the need to convert all of the media shot on the phone to a format compatible with windows movie maker, which meant downloading a freeware converter to convert .mp4 files to .avi files before the editing process could begin.

Eventually all the footage was chosen and then we had Cathy write the narration for the story and it was recorded in the radio studio. The next gremlin in our citizen journalist machine was trying to import the audio into movie maker. The audio was recorded and saved in .mp3 format but after numerous tries, windows movie maker kept crashing on us every time we tried to import the audio. We eventually discovered that another file conversion was needed and the .mp3 files were converted into .wav files, which movie maker then accepted. We then matched up our narration to our footage, cut and trimmed here and there and the final piece was exported.

Through this whole process, we believe Cathy learned a lot, and at the same time our skills as third year journalism students were reinforced. There were many minor challenges along the way, but nothing that was too difficult to overcome, and now at the end of the whole process, we have taught someone valuable journalistic skills which are self-sustainable and the ability to produce citizen journalism on a mobile phone is a tool Cathy will now carry with her for the rest of her life.

Getting the story

Getting the story

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